Former national champions and Kiwi internationals from the recent past will all flock together to race once again in Central Hawke’s Bay this coming weekend.
And while these individuals should certainly be favoured to dominate at the 2019 New Zealand Veterans’ and Women’s Motocross Championships in Otane this Saturday and Sunday, it’s highly likely that a few unexpected names may end up being engraved on the trophies this time around, such is the depth of talent that will be on show at the Bay Motorcycles-supported event.
The popular annual event will feature many riders who, despite their veteran status, still rate among the sport’s elite, while the female side of the sport that shares the race programme will be no less intense.
Stand-outs among those entered for the annual event include 1996 500cc motocross world champion Shayne King, from New Plymouth; twice former motocross world No.2 Josh Coppins, from Motueka; former veterans’ world champion Tony Cooksley, from Pukekohe, and former multi-time national champion Damien King, from Cambridge, who also went on to race the Grand Prix scene in Europe.
Former national 500cc motocross champion Mitch Rowe, from New Plymouth; former GP racer Cameron Negus, from Rotorua; multi-time former national champion Mike Cotter, from Cambridge, and New Plymouth’s David Furze, will also be lining up this weekend, along with Te Awamutu’s Mark Penny, Te Kauwhata’s Matt Vining, Auckland’s Steven Croad and Taupiri’s Mark Fuller, all four of whom were formerly top cross-country racing exponents.
British former Grand Prix star Kurt Nicoll, four times a 500cc motocross world No.2, is also a late entry and sure to be a drawcard.
Riders who primarily made their name on the road-bike scene, Feilding’s former 125GP exponent Kris Shirriffs and Whanganui’s super motard ace Ant Rountree, will be there to show they’re just as quick on dirt.
In the women’s section of the programme, expect to see riders such as Cambridge’s Zara Gray, Hamilton’s Amie Roberts, New Plymouth’s Mikayla Rowe, Motueka sisters Tyla and Roma Edwards, Ohawea’s Taylar Rampton, Invercargill’s Charlotte Clark and Ngatea’s Brooke Dalley to feature near the front.
Late entries are still likely to arrive from several veterans’ and women’s grade frontrunners from the recent past, including perhaps Blenheim’s Moston Wadsworth, Nelson’s Bryan Heaphy, Hawera’s Daryl Hurley, Inglewood’s Larry Blair, Whakatane’s Darren Capill, Auckland-based former Swiss international Gaudenz Gisler, Winton’s Brent Scammell, Blenheim’s Steve Lange, Christchurch’s Dean Baird, former Otago rugby captain David Latta, Lincoln’s Kelly Garland and Rotorua pair Letitia Alabaster and Mel Patterson, to name a few.
Hosted on Twist’s property at 1080 Argyll Road, Otane, the two-day event certainly features an entry list that reads like a who’s who and who-used-to-be-who of the sport.
The event again presents real value for money for spectators, with racing over two days for both the elite females, in both the junior and senior grades, and intense racing also for the country’s top male riders aged over 30 years.
Words and Photo by Andy McGechan